SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Alan Gordon’s first practice back as a full-fledged US international was cut short when the San Jose Earthquakes star limped off the field on Friday with the assistance of two team staffers after suffering an ankle injury.
The severity of Gordon’s knock – incurred on a challenge by teammate Jean-Marc Alexandre during the Quakes’ 11-vs.-11 scrimmage at Buck Shaw Stadium – was not immediately known, but it cast doubt on how much, if any, action he’ll see against the LA Galaxy on Sunday (7 pm ET, Galavision).
The 31-year-old has four goals and five assists in San Jose’s last seven matches, and a career-high 13 and seven in those categories for the entire season. He earned his first US cap last week against Antigua & Barbuda, delivering the assist to set up Eddie Johnson’s game-winning header in the 90th minute.
“He’s a huge part of our team and he’s been playing amazing,” Quakes forward Chris Wondolowski said. “He’s been a contributor in all aspects of the game: great target, great finisher, great assists. Hopefully, he’s going to be alright and he’ll have a speedy recovery.”
Gordon, who was helped off the pitch by head trainer Bruce Morgan and assistant trainer Hank House, walked to the Earthquakes locker room a few minutes later under his own power. The scrimmage was halted immediately after the collision.
Given that San Jose coach Frank Yallop has taken an extremely cautious route with injured players in the past month as the Quakes prepare for postseason play, it seems unlikely that they’ll push Gordon into the starting XI.
“[Whenever] anyone walks off the field, it’s never a good one,” said Quakes coach Frank Yallop. “Obviously, he can’t continue at this point. ... I think he just rocked [the ankle] a little bit, didn’t really go over on it. I think Jean fell on it and shook it up a little bit. So hopefully, that’s what it is. We’ll know more [Saturday].”
With midfielder Simon Dawkins back and training fully, the likely move if Gordon needs replacing is to bring Wondolowski off the wing, where he opened two weeks ago against Colorado, and put him underneath Steven Lenhart. Dawkins would slot in at left mid in that case.
Center back Ike Opara, who’s missed two matches due to concussion symptoms, practiced fully on Friday with padded headgear on and showed no ill effects.
Opara’s return to availability would be big because the Quakes are thin at center back this weekend. Jason Hernandez will serve a one-game suspension for seeing red at the end of San Jose’s 4-1 win against Colorado, and Justin Morrow – while he’s expected to be available Sunday – exacerbated his sore shoulder with an awkward fall while trying to chase Colorado’s Omar Cummings two weeks ago.
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.